Posts

Dealing With Anxiety About Death and Dying

Answered by Ustadha Shaista Maqbool

Question: Assalam alaikom,
I have had severe anxiety lately about death and the process of dying. I suffer from severe claustrophobia so my anxiety about death is compounded by the thought of being restricted in a casket, lowered into the ground and covered in dirt. Are there any supplications I can make for Allah to ease this process for me when the time comes and also is there any literature or information given to us from Allah or the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) that describes the process of death?

 

Answer: Wa’alaikum assalaam warahmatu Allahi wabarakatuh,

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) advised us to supplicate using the following dua, especially in the prayer, after the tashahud, before the salaam:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ عَذَابِ الْقَبْرِ وَمِنْ عَذَابِ النَّارِ وَمِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَحْيَا وَالْمَمَاتِ وَمِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَسِيحِ الدَّجَّالِ

O Allah, I seek refuge with You from the punishment of the grave and the punishment of the Fire; from the tribulations of life and death, and from the tribulation of the Maseeh al-Dajjal.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) encouraged remembering death, saying: “Make much remembrance of the destroyer of pleasure, [death].”

However, if this remembrance is causing much anxiety or sickness, I would recommend consulting with a shaykh who can advise you regarding our emotional state/well-being.

Yes, there are a lot of narrations about about death and its process. In English, the last book of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum ad-Deen, namely, Remembrance of Death and the Afterflife, is a good read. I’m sure you can find other books online.

May Allah ta’ala protect us from the punishment of the grave and give us a good ending.

wasalaam,
Shaista Maqbool

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Dealing With a Terminal Illness and Impending Death

Answered by Ustadh Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: I have a family member who is suffering from a terminal illness and does not have long to live. I would like to know what a person in this situation should focus on with regards to their Islamic worship during the last months of life e.g seek forgiveness, making up fasts???

 

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate,

As salamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

Thank you for your question. I ask Allah Most High to make it easy for your loved one and the family.

A person with a terminal illness should prepare to meet Allah. This means rectifying themselves and their life by doing whatever Allah has enjoined on them that they had not been doing thus far, and refraining from what He has prohibited against that they haven’t yet left off. They should keep up what good they were doing with even more sincerity and focus as best they can.

They should take account of and fulfill any outstanding duties owed to Allah (such as making up missed prayers, compensating for missed fasts, zakat, Hajj, etc) and to people (debts, trusts, borrowed items, etc). If these cannot all be fulfilled, they should still intend to do so while striving their utmost, and seek forgiveness for what remains from Allah, and from the people they owed to.

Such a person should make tawbah (repentance) from all previous sins and resolve never to return to them. They should make peace with everyone around them, apologize to those they ever hurt, and completely forgive those who ever hurt them. Not a grain of negativity against any human or selfish desire from the world should remain in their heart.

They should prepare inwardly by increasing in remembrance (dhikr), gratitude and intimate discourse with Allah. They should work to free their hearts of any bitterness or complaint against what Allah had decreed for them in life, thinking only the best of Allah, and hope for the best from Him in what is to come. They should strive to understand the wisdom behind what they are going through, and approach Allah with serenity and peace of heart.

If possible, they should not leave off being productive in their daily lives: they should continue to pursue constructive endeavors with excellence, maintain a good appearance and diet, and enjoy Allah’s blessings. We are only on this earth for some time to please Allah in whatever we do.

Finally, we must remember that everyone’s life is terminal: the end is near for all of us. Allah Most High says, “Every soul shall taste death,” [Quran 3:185] and so this is a reminder for each of us. I ask Allah Most High to make things easy for your loved one, and your family, and keep everyone strong.

Wassalam,
Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Related Answers:

How Do We Deal With the Death of a Loved One?

How to Deal With a Non-Muslim Relative’s Death

Advice to a Young Cancer Patient

A Trip to Body World? (Exhibiting Unclothed Cadavers)

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: My biology teacher told us that he has organized a trip to Body World, but that
this trip is optional. I have said no because it displays naked dead bodies. I was wondering what Islam says about places like Body World?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful

Assalamu alaikum,

It would be impermissible and sinful to go to such an exhibit because it is impermissible to use
dead bodies in such a way, and it entails abasement of the human body.

As for the educational benefits in such an exhibit, these benefits may be achieved through other
means.

Allah Most High said, “Verily, we have honored the children of Adam.” [Qur’an, 17:70]

Imam Sarakhsi, in Sharh al-Siyar al-Kabir, explained that, “A human is deserved to be honored
after their death, as they do while alive,” [1.228] which is why it is not permitted to use any part
of a human, except in the ways the Sacred Law has permitted.

Imam Kasani said in his Bada’i` al-Sana’i` that, “The entirety of a human being has been
honored. Using any detached part of it entails disrespect.“ [5.125] The same, a fortiori applies to
displaying the entire human body, especially its nakedness.

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani

Lessons from a Medina Graveyard with Photos – Fahad Faruqui – HuffingtonPost

Lessons from a Medina Graveyard with Photos – Fahad Faruqui – HuffingtonPost

One can learn many lessons at a graveyard. I once found myself helping carry the corpse of a stranger, an old woman, to its final abode. At the time, I was a 20-year-old on a family trip to the Holy City of Medina in Saudi Arabia.

Following the ish’a (night) prayers at the Prophet’s Mosque (Al-Masjid al-Nabawi) and the recitation of obligatory funeral prayer, I came across a middle-aged man searching for help to transport the coffin of the woman, who I later learned was his mother. She had passed away a few hours earlier and her son was eager to fulfill her final wish: to be buried immediately after death.

The son was the only family member present. He was anxious to hastily transport the steel coffin, containing the corpse of his mother wrapped in a white shroud, to the Garden of Heaven or, as it is called in Arabic, Janatu l-Baqi’, a graveyard adjacent to the Prophet’s Mosque. (Photos of the Prophet’s Mosque and the Garden of Heaven are below.)

Since it was late at night, the mosque had emptied quickly and there weren’t many eager beavers to lend a hand. A few men on their way out of the mosque regrettably declined the man’s pleas for assistance, saying they had far travel before reaching home. I wanted to help, but I was unsure if I would be able to carry the coffin all the way to the grave situated a couple of hundred meters away.

After a handful of men gathered to move the coffin, four men including me lifted it in unison and rested each corner on the shoulder. As we proceeded toward the graveyard, the coffin was tilted toward my side since I was relatively shorter than the other three.

“She isn’t heavy,” I thought to myself in relief.

A man behind me yelled blessings to the dead as we commenced our walk towards the Medina graveyard. We all joined in enthusiastically, chanting blessings to the dead.

Our voices started to get dimmer as we ran out of breath. The farther we moved away from the mosque, the darker it became. In the sunlight, the sands of Medina graveyard vary in color from orange to a shade that borders on red, with volcanic rocks scattered throughout the grave marking the grave. But at night, it was pitch-black. Our pathway was lit only by the light illuminating from the towering minarets atop the mosque, where Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, rests along with Abu Bakr, the first caliph, and Umar ibn Al-Khattab, the second caliph, may God be pleased with both.

After a few uneven steps, the buckle of one of my sandal’s broke, forcing me to push it aside as we continued forward. The ground was warm, even at this late hour. I could barely see where my feet were stepping in the wide graveyard around us. I was granted some relief when a man volunteered to help, seeking only reward from the Creator.

We walked aimlessly for a bit, trying our best not to trample over the other graves as we searched for the woman’s resting spot. Once we located it and rested the coffin beside the dugout, I took a peak at the grave. It was remarkably dark — the darkest shade of black that I have ever seen.

As I stood among these strangers with death before my eyes, and a six-foot deep grave that felt suffocating from above, the importance of my worries drifted away, and I began reflecting on the temporality of life.

It dawned on me how near we are all to death, our inevitable fate, although many of us think about death very rarely.

Quite out of the blue, I felt I was granted clues and answers to questions that had been filling my mind: Why am I here? And where will I go from here?

I had little to no sense of time. My startled parents went out looking for me when they saw all the doors of the Prophet’s Mosque closed from the window of our hotel room. I arrived back at the hotel more than an hour later than usual, yet the impression the experience left on me has been lasting. It was a moment of clarity, an hour that changed the very foundation of my existence.

“A moment of true reflection is worth more than ages of heedless worship,” Faraz Rabbani, a leading Islamic scholar, said recently on Twitter.

His words reminded me of that night. At certain points in our lives, we have experiences that shake us to the core and compel us to question our outlook on existence and, if we cultivate them properly, bring us nearer to the Almighty. Even many years later, in times when anger, distress, tribulation or temptation has attempted to sway me, my mind returns to that graveyard.

When you become mindful of death, you think and act differently. It becomes difficult to lash out in anger when we know how near death could be. A person conscious of death would think twice before defrauding and deceiving another human being.

By remembering that we will all perish and be buried in dirt, taking none of our possessions with us, it becomes undesirable to wrong or hurt someone intentionally. But one has to realize that death is inevitable.

My recollection of the funeral procession that night is vivid. I remember how time seized for me in the midst of that graveyard. I recall the haunting feeling of suffocation and discomfort that kept me awake that night.

Back in the hotel, as I rested my head on the plush pillow, in an arctic air-conditioned room, I thought of the rock-hard walls encircling that meager grave.

We need not reflect on death at all times to keep us on track. Paying attention to life — to the wondrous creations of the universe around us — can always draw us near to God and prompt us to be grateful. But also reflect on death, since it turns you away from the superficiality of the world and curbs your ego.

I would not say I am a man of immense knowledge. I haven’t spent an adequate amount of time fully uncovering the miracles of the Quran as deeply as I should. I have my ups and down. My faith, at times, dangles, and then I have to realign my thoughts. It happens more often than I am ready to confess here.

Yet I find remembering the inevitability of death from time to time is one way to stay grounded. During a course on Buddhist ethics I took a decade ago with Robert Thurman, the professor related a tale of a newlywed royal couple who went to a celebrated monk, Atisha, for marriage advice.

Initially hesitating to offer any since he had never been married himself, the monk finally yielded, giving some of the soundest marital advice I have heard: “Eventually, husband and wife, each will die. So now while alive, you should strive to be kind to each other.”

Thoughts of death need not flood our minds with sorrow and negativity, as we should understand that death is a natural part of the journey of life.

If we work on making every prayer count as if it’s our last and set aside time from our busy schedules, including the social media that consumes a measurable chunk of our day, to unwind the thoughts and worries entangled in our minds, we may become better humans and will indeed have a greater chance of living with peace.

Click here to view the Photos

How Do We Deal With the Death of a Loved One?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: My grandmother is about to die, it seems. How does one deal with death? What can I do for her?

Answer: Walaikum assalam,

Inwardly:

1. Patience,

2. Submission to the Divine Will,

3. Reflection on the fleetingness of live,

4. Taking admonition for one’s own situation.

Shaddad ibn Aws reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The intelligent is one who controls his lower self and works for that which comes after death. The stupid is one who follows his caprice and vainly hopes that his desires will be fulfilled by Allah. ” (al-Tirmidhi)

Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Race to good deeds! What do you await but delayed poverty, overbearing wealth, debilitating illness, senility, unexpected death or the Dajjal? Or are you waiting for unseen evil, or the Final Hour? And the Final Hour will be bitter indeed and terrible. ” (al-Tirmidhi)

Outwardly:

1. Making sure the dead person’s estate is correctly divided according to the Shariah AFTER all debts have been cleared.

2. If the person is expected to have missed fard fasts or prayers, their family (or friends) should make expiatory payments (fidya) to compensate for this, according to the rules of fiqh. [Can be explained upon request.]

3. Reciting a lot of Qur’an oneself (and family and friends) and donating the reward to the deceased. One may not pay Qur’an reciters for this; it would be sinful and without reward.

4. Making a lot of dua for them.

Malik ibn Rabi’a al-Sa`idi said, “Once as we sat with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), a man from the Bani Salama came and asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, is there any goodness I can show my parents after they die?’ He said, ‘Yes . Praying for them, seeking forgiveness for them, fulfilling the pledges they made, keeping ties with their relatives, and honouring their friends. ” (Abu Dawud)

Finally, we should learn the manners and ways of the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) and live them:

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessing & peace) said, “My entire community will enter Janna except those who refuse. ”

He was asked, “O Messenger of Allah, who are those who refuse?

He said, “Those who obey me will enter the Garden and those who disobey me refuse. ” (al-Bukhari)

This is a beautiful answer from a great wali:

http://www.iqra.net/articles/living.html

How the living may help the dead

from The Lives of Man, by Imam ‘Abdallah Ibn ‘Alawi al-Haddad, translated by Dr. Mostafa al-Badawi, Madina

Praying for the dead, asking forgiveness for them, and giving charity on their behalf are some of the things God causes the dead in their graves to benefit from and be protected by. There are many hadiths about this, and many fine and virtuous people have witnessed it in their dreams . Sa’d ibn ‘Ubada, may God be pleased with him, once said to the Messenger of God, may peace and blessings be upon him: ‘My mother’s soul departed suddenly, and had she been able to speak she would have given alms . Would it bring benefit to her if I did it on her behalf?’ ‘Yes!’ he replied . So he dug a well (for people to take water from) and said: ‘This is on behalf of Sa’d’s mother. ‘

And another man said: ‘O Messenger of God! My parents have died; is there anything left with which I may be good to them?’ And he replied: ‘There are four things: praying and asking forgiveness for them, carrying out their promises, being good to their friends, and giving proper attention to those kinship bonds which could have only be attended to by them. ‘

And the Prophet said, may peace and blessings be upon him: ‘Were it not for the living the dead would have been doomed’; in other words, because of the prayers and requests for forgiveness and for mercy which they receive.

And he said, may blessings and peace be upon him: ‘My Nation is a nation covered with mercy. Its members enter their graves with sins like unto the mountains, and leave their graves having been forgiven because the living have asked forgiveness for the dead. ‘

It is related that the gifts of alms, prayers, and Qur’anic recitation sent by the living to the dead reach them carried by the angels on plates of light, and adorned with silk handkerchiefs, and they say to them: ‘This is a gift from so-and-so’, and in this way they find joy and delight.

A dead man was once seen in a dream and, upon being questioned about his state, said that he had been greeted by an angel who attempted to burn his face with a flame held in his hand. But one of the living said: ‘God have mercy on so-and-so!’ -and the flame went out.

One of the greatest things which one may offer to the dead is to recite Qur’an and send on the reward for it . This is of great benefit and baraka. The Muslims have agreed on this everywhere throughout the ages, the majority of scholars and virtuous people have recommended it, and there are hadiths to confirm this. Although, these hadiths have weak chains of transmission, there is a principle, as the hadith scholar al-Suyuti (may God show him His mercy) has said, that: ‘Weak hadiths may be acted upon when they indicate acts of goodness. ‘ And these are indeed acts of goodness.

All the Qur’an is blessed and beneficial, but the most beneficial thing to offer to the dead is Surat al-Ikhlas eleven times, and this has been seen in many blessed dreams . Each person should recite this noble sura the said number of times, either each night, each day, or more, or less, or even only on Thursday night, and offer this reward to his parents, teachers and all those who had rights over him.

He must not forget his dead ones when he prays, asks forgiveness, or gives alms, lest he in turn be forgotten after his death, for the one who remembers is remembered, and the one who forgets is forgotten . Benevolence goes ahead of you, and God allows not the reward of those who have done good to be wasted. ( 18:30 )

Visiting Graves

You should know that it is recommended to visit graves . The Messenger of God, may blessings and peace be upon him, permitted this after having at first forbidden it . It contains benefits both for the living visitor and the dead person who receives the visit . The Prophet said, may peace and blessings be upon him: ‘Visit graves, for they remind you of death . ‘ And: ‘I used to forbid you to visit graves, but now you should visit them . They render one able to do without the things of the world, and remind one of the Hereafter . ‘ He also said: ‘No man visits the grave of his brother and sits by it but that he (the dead man) finds solace in this, having his spirit restored to him until the visitor departs . ‘ And he said: ‘A dead (person) in his grave is never more comforted than when those that he loved in the world pay him a visit. ‘

When a visitor enters the cemetery or passes it by he should say: ‘Peace be on you, O place of believers. We are granted respite until tomorrow. That which you were promised has come to you, and we will, God willing, rejoin you. You are our predecessors and we are your followers. I ask God to give us and you well-being. O God, forgive us and them!

It is recommended to visit the cemetery on Thursday night, Friday, Friday night until sunrise, and on Monday, for it is said—and this is supported by various narrations—that the spirits of the dead return to their graves at those times.

The visitor must ask for forgiveness and mercy for them, read whatever Qur’an he can and make over the reward to them; he should remember that soon he will go to the same end, and learn the lessons to be drawn from their condition.

When he visits the graves of his parents, relatives, or anyone else who had rights over him, he must sit with unhurried serenity, pray for them, and ask abundantly for forgiveness, for they rejoice at this, and are glad. When he visits the graves of righteous people he should pray in abundance, for prayers are answered at many such places, as has often been experienced. The tomb of Imam Musaal-Kazim, the son of Imam Ja’faral-Sadiq, is known in Baghdad has the ‘Proven Medicine’, that is, for prayers to be answered and worries to be relieved, and so is the tomb of Ma’ruf al-Karkhi, also in Baghdad. Some of the noble house of the ‘Alawi Sayyids used to sit at the tomb of our master al-Faqih al-Muqaddam for such long periods, in the heat of the sun, that sweat could have been wrung from their clothes, while they, because of their profound concentration in prayer, were unaware of this. This is reported of Shaykh ‘Abdallah ibn ‘Ali and others.

Source: Imam ‘Abdallah ibn’Al-awial-Haddad, Sabil al-iddikarwa ‘li ‘tibar bimay amurru bi’l insan min al-a’mar,( The Lives of Man), translated by Dr. Mostafa al-Badawi, The Quilliam Press, London, England, 1411/1991, p. 45-48

And Allah knows best.

Wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani.

How to Deal With a Non-Muslim Relative’s Death

Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: I have a question regarding the situation of my grandma. I am a recent convert and my grandma is ill. I have recited the Fatiha to her and listened to recitation of the Koran (Surat Al-Bakarah) with her and it seems to bring her comfort, but I want to know how I can best pray for her and what I should ask Allah for.

So my questions are as follows: What is the best dua to make for an elderly person who is ill and who might be nearing their end? Can I make the same dua for a non-Muslim relative? Also, what is the best verse from the Koran to recite for someone in this situation? I learned that when praying for non-Muslims we should always ask for the Prophet’s intercession. Is this correct?

Answer: Wa alaikum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Thank you for your question.  Firstly, I want to congratulate you on your being guided to Islam.  Truly, Allah Most High lovingly chose you out of millions to accept His guidance.  We pray that Allah makes you a light and a means for others to enter into Islam also.

I am sorry to hear about the health of your grandmother.

Allah Most High has given your grandmother a tremendous opportunity in that He has given her a granddaughter who is a Muslim, who can advise her towards Islam in her last days.

The most important thing for any human being is that they end their life in a state of submission to their Creator, commensurate to the amount of knowledge of the Truth that reached them in their lifetime.

The best prayer you can make for your grandmother is to ask Allah Most High to create faith (iman) in her heart before she dies.  The greatest gift is to believe with conviction that that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His final messenger, so naturally, you should want that for her.

This can be done in your own words and sincere entreaties.  You can always, in any prayer, approach and ask Allah for something for the sake of the love and station of His beloved Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him), because Allah is the only One who can guide others and answer prayers.

Since a Muslim relative would already have faith, the nature of the prayer you make for them would be different than what you would ask for a non-Muslim relative.

Also, difficulty or pain at the time of death is something that can occur to all people, and it in itself is not bad or evil, or a punishment.  Rather, it is a natural part of the exit from this world that even the best of mankind, the prophets of God (peace be upon them all), went through.

Temporary comfort from the pangs of death in this world pales in comparison to everlasting comfort in the Hereafter, so the real concern should be for the person’s Hereafter.

The Duty to Call Others to the Truth

The best and most dutiful thing that you can do is to speak to your grandmother about Allah.  Use gentle reasoning why she should believe in only One God, how He is above having any son or partner, and how He alone should be worshiped because our eventual return is to Him.  If she agrees, you can speak to her about the prophethood.

This can be done in your own language, in loving and simple words- this is not time for complex reasoning nor proofs.  It may be awkward to open a conversation about this, but try to do it in private.  This could be your last chance with her, so throw off all inhibitions for her sake.

If she differs with any of this, at last resort, you can also tell her that this is what you believe, and that those who believe it will one day enter Heaven with God’s pleasure.  You can gently ask her to believe this also, so she can be with you in Heaven, if she loves you the way you love her.

Once you have tried your best given the situation, you have done your duty of giving the Message.  If she does not or cannot accept it, do not feel to blame.

It is not clear to me, when you said she can no longer speak, whether she can still hear and understand, and nod her head.  If she cannot, then I would personally advise still talking through the Message with her gently, because she may still be able to understand without showing signs of it.

Surah Yasin from the Qur’an is something you can listen to, or read, perhaps in translation as well, both for yourself and in her presence because it speaks about life and death.

The Fate of a Non-Muslim After Death

Finally, if she passes away in a state where it was not clear to you if she understood and accepted what you invited her to, although you cannot say she died with faith nor can you pray for her after death, it is permissible to hope that Allah created faith in her heart before she died, because this is not difficult for Allah to do.  This is what my teacher and spiritual guide taught me to do in this situation.

If a non-Muslim dies without having heard or understood the message at all, according to the Ash’ari school (one of the two main schools of Sunni belief), they are not held accountable for their faith or their actions.  This is a general amnesty due to ignorance of the message however, rather than a confirmation of their religion’s validity. [Nuh Keller, Knowing: The Validity of One’s Faith]

In the end, we can never conclusively say what a person’s fate in the Hereafter will be, rather we leave this up to Allah, but this does not excuse us from inviting others to the message of Islam and believing that the deliberate rejection of the truth leads one to eternal perdition.  For more information on the fate of non-Muslims in the afterlife, please see the links below.

Allah Guides Whom He Wills

While we are concerned for the dying person, we cannot forget our own hearts and our relationship with our Lord.

A most relevant verse at this time is not necessarily directed at the dying person, but rather, at ourselves.  It is the verse that Allah Most High revealed to His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) when his own beloved uncle, Abu Talib, died without accepting Islam at his hands.  Allah Most High said:

“Truly, you do not guide whom you love, but rather Allah guides whom He wills.  And He knows best about who is upon guidance.” [Qur’an 28:56]

Times like this are a trial, especially in the life of a convert.  It reminds us of the great bounty of faith that Allah gave to us, yet at the same time, it is a time of concern and pain to see a family member leave the world without this bounty for themselves.

It also challenges us to realize the reality of this life, and tests whether we will hold fast to Allah Most High and the truth, or allow our lower selves to dictate what should be and should’ve been.  So the best thing is to keep your relationship with Allah strong through prayer, dhikr, supplication and submission to His wisdom.

I ask that Allah Most High guides your grandmother, and keeps you strong and close to Him at this time and thereafter.

Wasalam,

Abdullah Anik Misra

Related answers on the fate of non-Muslims in the afterlife:

What is the Fate of Non-Muslims in the Afterlife?

Can We Pray for Non-Muslims Who Passed Away?

Are non-Muslims Who Lived Good Lives Condemned to Hell?

On The Passing of Sister Rehab El-Buri

ON THE PASSING OF SISTER REHAB EL BURI

Special thanks to Al-Madina Institute for sharing this powerful piece.
On the Passing of Sister Rehab El Buri

On March 6th 2011 Sister Rehab El Buri died of cancer at the age of 25.  Rehab, an Islamic activist, was loved by all those who knew her and a cause of inspiration for those who didn’t.  We would like to share some of Rehab’s own reflections on her trial taken from her personal blog.  We ask Allah to shower his mercy on Rehab, enter her into the company of our beloved Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family).  We leave you with Rehab’s words:

I know I ended my last post pretty abruptly. At the time I was writing it, going through the play by play was difficult.

It took me about three days to accept my death. On the first day, as you read, my mind was in chaos. On the second day, I was numb. And on the third day, my husband and mother began talking sense to me, and I finally came to some important realizations:

1. We are all going to die. The people who took the news of my disease calmly and those who panicked- they are going to die one day too. Death is one of the few realities we can be certain of in this life, and yet we somehow slip into thinking that we are exempt.

2. We live this life for the next. I was living my life as a Muslim…praying and fasting, but I had somehow allowed my real goal in life to be swallowed by buying salad plates for my next dinner party, and trying to get free shipping on my next jcrew order, and finding pillows that popped against my cream sofa. In between being a consumer and entertaining myself to death, I let what really matters in my life slip away from me. If I was truly living my life for the Hereafter, I should not be so fearful of the future I had created for myself. The Quran says, “And this life of the world is nothing but a sport and a play; and as for the next abode, that most surely is the life- did they but know!” [29.64]

3. I am in the same boat as everyone else. None of us are given anyguarantees in life. Our health, our wealth, and our families are trusts give to us by Allah- and they are His to take when He, in his infinite wisdom, deems fit. We all claim to believe this, but in practice we often falter. I don’t know why I thought I could push the thought of death out of my mind for at least a good 30 or 40 years. Allah (SWT) could claim any of us at any time. I am in the same boat as everyone else- I have no idea when my time is, but I should try to live everyday as if it is my last.

4. Each day is a gift. Receiving this wake up call is such a blessing in that each day Allah grants me is an opportunity to do some more good and try to make up for some of the mistakes I made in the past. For some reason, the mornings are usually a little rough for me. I think it’s just waking up from my dreams and realizing that I still have to live with this disease. But every morning I try to tell myself, “Alhamdulilah, I feel good today, what good can I do today?”

These realizations, and the support of my mother, husband, his mother, my sisters, his sisters, my father, his father, my friends, and my community have helped me not merely cope with what I’m going through, but actually seek the reward of going through this trial, and try to sincerely accept what Allah wills for me.

How Do I Deal With Excessive Fear Of Death?

Answered by Sulma Badrudduja

Question: I fear death all the time to the extent that the thought of what will happen when I die, to me or my children, is taking over my life. What should I do?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barkatuh

The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Make frequent remembrance of the destroyer of pleasures [death]. For certainly it is such that the one who is in constraint of livelihood does not remember it except that it expands it for him [because he remembers the pleasures of Paradise]; and the one who is in expanse [of enjoying worldly pleasures] does not remember it except that it constrains it for him.”

Remembering death and fearing it is praiseworthy. However, as the scholars tell us, there is a balance between fear [khawf] and hope [raja‘]. Some of them liken it to the two wings of a bird – they are both needed to fly. We cannot progress forward with only one of them. Our fear of Allah and His punishment is what motivates us to do good deeds and take advantage of our time. But it should be balanced with the hope that we hold granted our knowledge of His endless mercy and forgiveness.

Also, remember that our lifespan is already written for each of us. It has been decreed before we were born. Accepting this is part of accepting Allah’s decree. It is natural if the thought to cross your mind of how your children will be taken care of after you, but by no means should you let worrying about this take over your life. Put your energy into making du’a for your protection and your family’s protection, and then leave the rest to Him.

The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) guided us to say: “Oh Allah! I seek refuge in you from the punishment of the grave, and from the punishment of Hell, and from the trials of life and death, and from the evil of the trial of the Dajjal.” [Muslim]

اللهم إني أعوذ بك من عذاب القبر، ومن عذاب جهنم،ومن فتنة المحيا والممات، ومن شر فتنة المسيح الدجال

May Allah ease your worries and grant you and us complete reliance on Him.

Sulma

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf on Michael Jackson’s Death – Shock Dead Everybody’s Gone Mad

Zaytuna Institute & Academy

On the news
Everybody’s dog food
Bang bang
Shock dead
Everybody’s gone mad…

 

From “They Don’t Care About Us” by Michael Jackson

As a little boy, Michael Jackson had an extraordinary charisma — as well as an absolute innocence — that was disarmingly charming. It captivated millions of Americans and eventually people around the world.https://www.faithtrustinstitute.org/downloads/shaykh_hamza_yusuf.jpg

As the years went by, his career took strange turns and he slowly turned white, transforming his face eerily into a pale and ghastly masque, perhaps to conceal the pain of alienation from his own self and family. He was also rumored to have unsavory predilections that would never have been suggested if one used the rigorous criteria of Islam before hurling an accusation. Despite the rumors, he appeared to have had a genuine concern for children, wanting to provide them with a world that was denied to him as a child due to the abuses he claimed to have suffered.

I was very happy for him last year when he reportedly became a Muslim. He had apparently followed the footsteps of his dignified and intelligent brother, Jermaine, who converted to Islam 20 years ago and found peace. It seemed befitting that Michael sought refuge from a society that thrives on putting people on pedestals and then knocking them down. He was accused of many terrible things, but was guilty of perhaps being far too sensitive for an extremely cruel world. Such is the fate of many artistic people in our culture of nihilistic art, where the dominant outlet for their talents is in singing hollow pop songs or dancing half-naked in front of ogling onlookers who often leave them as quickly as they clung to them for the next latest sensation. Read more

Having One’s Grave Dug Whilst One Is Alive

Answerd by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question :Having One’s Grave Dug whilst one is Alive

Answer :  The relied upon position of the Hanafi jurists (fuqaha) is that it is permissible to have one’s grave dug whilst one is alive. It’s actually considered to be a means of remembering one’s death and preparing for it, something which the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) emphatically emphasized.

Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said to his companions: “Have shame before Allah as you ought to.” They said: “O Messenger of Allah, we do have shame praise be to Allah.” He (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Not like that, rather the one who has shame before Allah as he ought to guards his head and what it contains, guards his stomach and what it takes in and remembers death and disintegration. And whoever desires the hereafter leaves the ornamentation of this world. Whoever does all this has shame before Allah as he ought to.” (Sunan Tirmidhi)

Sayyiduna Bara’ ibn Azib (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) saw a group of people digging a grave and hence cried until the earth became wet with his tears. He then said: “O my brothers! For this, prepare yourselves.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

Imam an-Nawawi (Allah have mercy on him) states after quoting the above two Hadiths in his al-Majmu’ that it is recommended to prepare one’s self for death by refraining from sins that are connected to fellow servants of Allah and those that are between the servant and Allah Almighty. It is recommended for everyone to remember death as much as possible and more so in a state of illness, for in remembering death, one’s heart becomes soft, one fears Allah, one refrains from sins and commits to obeying Allah Most High. Shaykh Abu Hamid said that it is advised to remember the Hadith: “Have shame before Allah as you ought to……” as much as possible. (See: Nawawi, al-Majmu’ sharh al-Muhadhab of Shirazi, Kitab al-Jana’iz, 5/70)

As regards to digging one’s own grave during one’s lifetime, Imam al-Haskafi of the Hanafi School (Allah have mercy on him) states in his Al-durr al-Mukhtar:

“There is nothing wrong with digging a grave for one’s self, and it is said that it is disliked. It appears that preparing the shroud (kafan) etc will not be disliked contrary to the grave.”

Imam Ibn Abidin (may Allah have mercy on him), a later authority in the Hanafi School, states whilst commentating on the above statement of al-Haskafi:

“(al-Haskafi’s statement: “There is nothing wrong with digging a grave for one’s self”)… It is stated in al-Tatarkhaniyya (m: name of a book) that there is nothing wrong with it and one will be rewarded for doing so. This was the practice of Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz, Rabi’ ibn Khaytham and others (Allah be pleased with them).” (Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, 2/244)

Allama Sayyid at-Tahtawi, another commentator of al-Haskafi’s Al-Durr al-Mukhtar, states:

“(al-Haskafi’s statement: “There is nothing wrong with digging a grave for one’s self”) because it is a form of preparing to meet Allah Most High. (al-Haskafi’s statement: “it is said that it is disliked”) due to the statement of Allah Most High, “Nor does any one know in what land he is to die” [Qur’an, 31: 34]. I (Tahtawi) say, digging one’s grave does not contravene this verse due to its benefit in general even if it may be for another.” (Hashiya at-Tahtawi ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, 1/383)

As such, in conclusion, the authoritative opinion in the Hanafi School is that there’s nothing wrong in having one’s grave dug whilst one is alive as a way of preparing for death, rather it is hoped one will be rewarded for acting upon the general recommendation of remembering one’s death and preparing for it outlined in the above two and other Hadiths. Some scholars did, however, state that it is disliked to do so in view of the fact that no one knows when and where one will die. This though was explained away by Imam Tahtawi (Allah have mercy on him) saying that even if one was not to die in the same area where the grave was dug, it will be of benefit for others.

As you may be aware, it is prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman) to transfer the body of the deceased from one area to another for burial unless it is just a mile or two (Radd al-Muhtar 5/275). As such, if one was to have one’s grave dug whilst being alive, it is advised to include in one’s bequest (wasiyya) that the grave may be used to bury any other Muslim should one pass away in some other distant land.

And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK